The European respiratory journal

Role of growth hormone-releasing hormone in sleep and growth impairments induced by upper airway obstruction in rats.

PMID 21406516


Upper airway obstruction (UAO) can lead to abnormal growth hormone (GH) homeostasis and growth retardation but the mechanisms are unclear. We explored the effect of UAO on hypothalamic GH-releasing hormone (GHRH), which has a role in both sleep and GH regulation. The tracheae of 22-day-old rats were narrowed; UAO and sham-operated animals were sacrificed 16 days post-surgery. To stimulate slow-wave sleep (SWS) and GH secretion, rats were treated with ritanserin (5-HT(2) receptor antagonist). Sleep was measured with a telemetric system. Hypothalamic GHRH, hypothalamic GHRH receptor (GHRHR) and GH receptor, and orexin were analysed using ELISA, real-time PCR and Western blot. UAO decreased hypothalamic GHRH, GHRHR and GH receptor levels, while orexin mRNA increased (p<0.01). In UAO rats, the duration of wakefulness was elevated and the duration of SWS, paradoxical sleep and slow-wave activity was reduced (p<0.001). Ritanserin alleviated these effects, i.e. normalised hypothalamic GHRH content, decreased wake duration, increased duration and depth of SWS, and attenuated growth impairment (p<0.001). Here, we present evidence that growth retardation in UAO is associated with a reduction in hypothalamic GHRH content. Our findings show that abnormalities in the GHRH/GH axis underlie both growth retardation and SWS-disorder UAO.

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Ritanserin, powder